How to get around, where to stay and the best things to do away from the track in Barcelona. Here’s your travel guide for the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix on 7-10 May.
- Visas: Spain is part of the Schengen zone, which provides visa-free travel in 26 European countries. Most Western travelers, including those from the USA, Canada and Australia, don’t need a visa to visit Spain. Learn more about requirements here.
- Currency: Spain uses the EURO. ATMs are easy to find and you can pay with plastic almost everywhere in Barcelona. Tipping is not necessary, though rounding up the bill to reward good service is always a good idea.
- Language: the official languages of Barcelona are Catalan and Spanish, though being a hugely popular city with tourists, you’ll have no problem getting by with English in most situations.
- Time Zone: Central European Time (UTC/GMT + 1 hour)
- In an Emergency: dial 112
- Power Sockets: Spain uses the same Type F power sockets as the rest of mainland Europe. Bring an adaptor if you are travelling from another part of the world.
- Weather: the Grand Prix falls during the European spring. Although it is starting to warm up in Barcelona (expect on average 8 hours of sunshine a day), the weather can also be changeable and rain is not uncommon. Daytime highs average around 22°C (72°F) and lows 14°C (57°F).
Arrival & Getting Around
Barcelona International Airport (BCN), also known as El Prat, is the best airport to fly into for the Spanish Grand Prix, unless you plan to combine your race trip with a holiday on the nearby Costa Brava, in which case you may consider flying into Ryanair’s hub at Girona-Costa Brava Airport (GRO).
Once you’ve landed at El Prat, there’s several ways to get to the centre of Barcelona. Aerobus runs a regular bus service from the airport to Plaza Catalunya for €6 each way, while a taxi or Uber from the airport to central Barcelona will set you back €30-40. Trains also run from the Aeropuerto station at BCN Terminal 2 (a ten-minute shuttle bus away from Terminal 1) to Sants, Passeig de Gracia and Clot stations in the city centre; the trip takes about 30 minutes and costs €3 each way. In a hurry? You can also take a direct train from the airport to Montmeló, the closest station to the circuit, in just under an hour. More information on the Renfe website.
The metro is the best way to get around Barcelona for sightseeing. Get the Hola BCN travel card if you are planning to use the metro regularly during your visit. More information: Spanish Grand Prix – Getting Around Guide
Where to Stay for the Spanish Grand Prix
To get the most out of your weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix, we recommend staying closer to the bars, restaurants, shopping and tourist sites in central Barcelona, one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. Another option is to stay near the beach on the Costa Brava and drive to the circuit each day. Why not add accommodation to your Official Ticket Package? F1 Experiences offers a 4-night stay at the Renaissance Barcelona Hotel or Hotel Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I, including daily coach transfers to and from the circuit.
Where to Eat & Drink in Barcelona
- From quick bites to high-end dining, there’s no shortage of good places to eat in Barcelona. It’s also easy to combine drinking and eating, with most bars serving tasty tapas and pintxos. Don’t be in a hurry to go out either. Barcelona is a late-night city, and many places don’t come alive until after midnight!
- Avoid the tourist traps on La Rambla and get lost in the Gothic Quarter, home to some of Barcelona’s best bars and restaurants. Head to Bar Celta Pulperia or Bar La Plata for traditional, no-frills tapas, including patatas bravas (potato cubes with spicy sauce) and chipirones (deep-fried baby squid). We also recommend trying the paella (seafood with rice) at 7 Portes, where everyone from Dalí to de Niro have dined over the years. Popular drinking establishments in the Gothic Quarter include late-night dive bar The Bollocks and Sub Rosa cocktail bar.
- Head to the other side of La Rambla and the El Raval district for bohemian bars and laid-back cafes. Start with a visit to the famous La Boqueria market before sampling the unique Asian-themed tapas at Dos Palillos. El Raval is also home to several popular nightclubs, including Sala Apolo and Les Enfants.
- Some of the city’s best high-end restaurants, bars and clubs can be found by the beach near Port Olimpic. Popular late-night clubs here include Opium Mar, Catwalk and Pacha. The area is also home to Casino Barcelona.
- Escape the tourists and head to Gràcia, a lively bar and dining district popular with locals. Step back to the 1920s in Old Fashioned or go upmarket in Bobby Gin, which serves cocktails and reasonably priced food.
What to do in Barcelona
- Explore La Rambla, Gothic Quarter & Barceloneta Beach: one of the best ways to explore the heart of Barcelona is to take a walk down La Rambla, the city’s famous pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare that starts at Plaça de Catalunya and ends at the port. Take a left turn and you will end up in Barcelona’s oldest area, the Gothic Quarter, a maze of narrow streets opening onto beautiful squares where many of the city’s best bars and tapas restaurants can be found. Keep walking and you’ll end up at Port Vell, where some of the world’s most expensive super yachts are moored on Grand Prix weekend. La Barceloneta Beach is also nearby if you fancy a dip.
- Discover Gaudi’s legacy: local architect Antoni Gaudi was responsible for some of Barcelona’s most iconic buildings, including his grand masterpiece, La Sagrada Família (Church of the Sacred Family). Construction began more than 130 years ago and isn’t expected to be completed until the centenary of Gaudi’s death in 2026! The Gaudi-designed Parc Güell (pictured above), comprising 40 acres of manicured gardens with panoramic views of the city, is also worth visiting. Finally, Casa Vicens is a fine example of Gaudi’s work in trendy Gràcia that’s also a museum (open daily 10:00-20:00, adult tickets 16, buy in advance to skip the queues.)
- Parc de Montjuïc: the location of the Spanish Grand Prix from 1969-1975 and home to many venues from the 1992 Olympics, Parc de Montjuïc is definitely worth a visit. Take the cable car to the historic military fortress at the top of the hill for incredible views over the city.
- Camp Nou: take a tour of the largest football stadium in Europe, home to FC Barcelona. Tours include the player’s tunnel, benches, press conference room and commentary boxes. You can also check out the FC Barcelona museum.
What’s happening in Barcelona on 2020 Spanish Grand Prix weekend?
- FC Barcelona takes on Espanyol at the iconic Camp Neu stadium on Sunday 10 May. The kick off time is yet to be confirmed, but you should be able to make it after the race. Get tickets here.
- D’A Film Festival – taking place from 25 April to 5 May, this celebration of independent cinema holds screenings and talks at various venues throughout the city. Learn more here.
- Sant Ponç Street Market – head to the historic Raval district close to La Ramblas for the “feast of the patron saint of beekeepers and herbalists” on May 11, including a popular street market selling honey, artisan cheeses, herbs and other products of the Spring.
- Museo Picasso will be staging a special exhibition of the artist’s jewelry creations from May 8. More information here.
- An international fair devoted to comic collecting, Comic Barcelona takes place at Fira de Barcelona (Montjuïc Exhibition Centre) from 8-10 May.